Apr 5 – Jul 29, 2024
An amorphous, slightly transparent green blob with black squares and a blue and green sun shape over a pencil drawing of an ocean


There’s no destination in daydreaming. It doesn’t have to result in anything other than you had a moment of reprieve. You had a moment of just being in a place that can hold you.
— Austen Smith, Imagination Doulas

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is pleased to present Outlandish, an NEA Our Town grant-funded exhibition by multidisciplinary artist April Banks. Including film, mixed media, ritual, and sculpture, Outlandish imagines a respite of mystery for those who most need it. This exhibition returns to and proceeds from ancient knowledge and harmony with nature, world-building an alternate narrative toward a freer existence.

For this exhibition Banks creates a place called Yemaluna, combining the name of Yemaya, the ocean deity in African Diasporic spiritual practices, and lunar, referencing the moon. Banks imagines Yemaluna as a cloud island, where everyone migrates every leap year on February 29. Clouds allude to the conjunction between the ethereal and nature, holding immense amounts of water yet dispersed with the wind, they are universal, drifting, wandering, and borderless. Like clouds,Yemaluna evokes imagination, daydreaming, and wonder. It is a metaphor for a geography of freedom.

Outlandish visualizes this network of exit routes including Apothecar(r)y (Bodies of Water), a staircase adorned with small bottles filled with water from SLO County, capped with rocks foraged from Montaña de Oro. These vessels are whispered with intention to safeguard against drought, thirst, and greed. The stairs depart to It’s Important to Me that We Know We Are Free, a meditative video work depicting Sojourner’s Proof, a Yemaluna archetype, swinging freely. Artifacts from Yemaluna adorn the walls of the gallery along with clay-pulled prints that reference Tidewalker, the sculpture installed on the Museum’s adjacent lawn. These objects of both labor and leisure conjure reciprocity and passage into new possibilities and geographies.

About the artist
April Banks is an artist and creative strategist working across visual art, social engagement, and exhibition design. Her practice sits intentionally between image, space, and experience. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Daytona Beach, New Hampshire, Maryland, New York, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Senegal, and Ethiopia. Her work is in the collection of the Getty Museum and other private collections. April graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton University in Virginia in 1996. She obtained a Master of Science in Environmental Design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1999.

Additional Project Resources

An image of two women back to back with a bowl collecting rain above their heads, with water trailing down between them in braid pattern

The Braiding Water Project
Presented by program partner R.A.C.E. Matters, Braiding Water was a multi-location art and cultural festival that weaves together ceremony, joy, and care for our environment. Between August 19 – October 21, 2023 across San Luis Obispo County, R.A.C.E. Matters and artist April Banks hosted events that centered BIPOC voices from the Central Coast.

A Black woman wearing a black bodysuit and a vertical white sash swings serenely against puffy white clouds

Joy Map
The Joy Map is an interactive map showing all the publicly accessible swings in San Luis Obispo County. Swing locations are subject to change.

Go out and find your joy!

Make your visit interactive with this artist-customized Spotify playlist to complement the exhibition Outlandish and the public artwork Tidewalker.

Related Programming

SLOMA's curator leads a docent training event. A young woman with short blonde hair and a white sweater refers to a painting while three other women holding clipboards listen and take notes for future gallery tours

Every Saturday at 11 AM: Join a free tour of the exhibition led by our trained docents. Check in at the front desk.

Contamos con visitas guiadas en español, las puedes solicitar al correo esaperstein@sloma.org para agendar.

A young girl in a yellow shirt uses pink paint on a canvas

Saturday, May 11 from 11 AM–1 PM: Second Saturdays
Artists both young and young at heart are invited to SLOMA’s monthly family art event, Second Saturdays, to complete a fun art activity inspired by the media and themes of Outlandish.

Second Saturdays takes place on SLOMA’s Mission Plaza lawn area. Free and open to the public. Learn more here.

This exhibition is generously presented by:

National Endowment for the Arts logo

Additional support provided by:

The County of San Luis Obispo logo
Frame Works logo

Comments are closed.